Re: Some thoughts on Politics

Date: Sat Oct 14 2000 - 05:03:30 MDT

In a message dated 9/26/00 1:28:21 PM Central Daylight Time,

> I prefer to use standard economic theory for understanding future
> societies, including politics. When things will change just a little,
> then simple trend analysis or analogies to similar cases, such as is
> popular in much policy analysis, will work reasonably well. When
> things change a bit more, intuitive informal theory of the sort common
> in the social sciences can still work reasonably well. But when things
> change a lot, trends don't continue and informal categories break down,
> and only the most abstract and general theory remains a reliable guide.
> Standard economic theory and Paretian policy analysis is very general
> and can speak to the future scenarios of interest to us. It often,
> but far from always, supports the sort of policy conclusions that
> libertarians come to. When they disagree, I tend to go with economic
> theory.

I'm still catching up on old posts, and I usually try to refrain from posting
"me, too" and "attaboy" comments, but I must say we are extremely fortunate
as an intellectual community to have Robin around. This is about as succinct
and smart an analysis of how to think about social policy questions in a
transhumanist future as one could imagine. I would urge everybody to reread
and ponder these words of Dr. Hanson, from those who consider themselves
dyed-in-the-wool libertarians to the most skeptical of communitarians: When
contemplating different levels of technologically-caused change (from
superficial to fundamental), this hierarchy of cognitive principles seems
like it can't be bettered.

BTW, I'm currently reading Timur Kuran's "Private Truths, Public Lies: The
Social Consequences of Preference Falsification," which was, if memory
serves, a recommendation of Robin's. This book is sparking all sorts of
fairly deep questioning of "standard-issue" libertarian policy analysis for
me and I hope to be able to write some of those questions up into a more or
less coherent post some time in the next month or so . . .

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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